Embedded video inside. Some of the chimps in this film are over 50 years old and this is the first time in decades that they have been able to touch another chimp or feel grass under their feet.
Fifty government-owned chimpanzees have already been moved from New Iberia Research Center to Chimp Haven, The National Chimpanzee Sanctuary. Plans have been announced to retire 90% of US laboratory chimpanzees and to significantly decrease research grants involving chimpanzees. This is a heartwarming and interesting short film published by the Humane Society of the United States.
Standing before a forested area where the chimps will eventually roam, The Humane Society of the United States’ Kathleen Conlee tries to hold back tears. “It’s been a long road,” she says.
Chimps who lived for decades in steel and concrete cages with no bedding will now indulge their nest-building instincts to their fullest. Some will weave yaupon holly branches and leaves into a circle, piling pine needles in the middle. Others, like 55-year-old Karen, prefer man-made comforts. Each night, the balding matriarch with a wizened, Yoda-like face arranges a pile of blankets about her and carefully tucks herself into bed. “If it’s not quite right,” says Chimp Haven’s Amy Fultz, “she’ll sit back up and retuck and rearrange and then try it out again.”